Who says everyone has one designated passion?
Who says everybody was born to do one thing? Who says we have to choose one thing to do forever? Who says we have to choose one thing over the other?
What if I want to do more than one thing? What if I’m passionate about lots of things? What if I’m not all that passionate about anything?
What if my passion isn’t a thing to find, but an unpredictable combination of interests and experiences that unfolds over time—a composite of curiosities, likes, and attractions fused to form a purpose and place, impossible to see in advance?
Someone pleeeze . . . Cut the switch on the programmed clichés, pummeling my brain since birth!
CLICHÉ: What are you going to be when you grow up?
YOU: What if there’s no category for that? And is that be or do?
CLICHÉ: What’s your major?
YOU: What if what I want doesn’t fit into the 4-Cs (cookie-cutter college curriculum)?
CLICHÉ: What’s your one passion? One love? One thing?
CLICHÉ: Sorry! There’s no major for that. So put your unrepeatable spirit into our college cage and sign here. Then sign the student loan papers to ensure the cage stays locked.
YOU: I need to know my future now! I need control!
CLICHÉ: If you’d like to get a master’s degree in predictability, just lop off all but one of your interests. (Prereq: Thinking something’s wrong with you for pursuing too many things.)
YOU: Well, I’ve already completed the prereq!
CLICHÉ: Way to go! Great job!
YOU: Oops. You mean, “Average job,” don’t you?
CLICHÉ: Yes, I’m sorry. We strive for mediocrity at 4-Cs University and exclamation points are banned. I meant, “Way to look like you’re going. Average job.”
YOU: Phew. Now that I have fake control, over my fake future security, I feel fake better. This unfolding stuff is just tooo uncertain.
CLICHÉ: Thanks for omitting the exclamation points.
Some people are born to specialize in one thing.
That’s great for them!
But downright unnatural for others.
There’s nothing wrong with you if you are what author Emily Wapnick calls a multipotentialite.(Multi-potential-ite) Her definition:
“A person with many different interests and pursuits in life.”
The traditional term is Renaissance man. Webster’s definition:
“A person who has wide interest and is expert in many areas.”
Some people either love, like, or simply have small interests in many things. Why lop off any of them? The garden of who you are can only blossom if all of who you are grows together. A single bloom would look kind of sad in a field of hacked-up flowers.
Instead of searching for one ready-made passion, multipotentialites intuitively blend their interests into a surprise passion potpourri.
Like my friend Jeremy, whose multi-interests in law, business, entrepreneurism, music, and event planning blended into a career as an A-list music supervisor in Los Angeles. (A music supervisor oversees all music-related aspects of a film and television production.) His master’s degree in percussion performance from 4-Cs University was only a piece of what naturally unfolded into a new and unexpected passion.
So how do you blend many interests into one? First thing: Quit forcing! Quit controlling! Quit trying to create an entire masterpiece with one stroke of the brush. An unfolding canvas of passion is painted with the colors of patience and faith.
If you don’t know what you love, follow what you’re drawn to. There’s a message and map—a pathway unfolding inside the things drawing you in. Slight interests or mild curiosities may be breadcrumbs leading to the wider road of an emerging destiny.
I do know one thing about one thing. For some, it’s made up of many things.
(E pluribus unum—out of many [interests], One [passion]
Don’t lock yourself in a cage, simply because . . .
You majored in it.
Spent money or time on it.
Think you’re supposed to.
Be who you are.
You can’t grow up if you close up.
And leave room for all of who you are to fill your cup.